Two of the most famous figures in literary history – Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady – have been found alive and well, living in a remote Mexican hacienda.
If this were true, it would be quite a story.
Which is why it’s the key plot of a rollicking novel by Lynnette Lounsbury, a lecturer of writing and ancient history at Lake Macquarie’s Avondale College.
In her new book, We Ate the Road Like Vultures, Kerouac and Cassady have pulled off a great literary fraud.
The pair, who were thought to have died in the late 1960s, were now “two old geezers” living with an Alaskan moose named Capote and a suicidal circus elephant called Salinger.
Lulu, an Australian teenage runaway, tracks down Kerouac and Cassady, who now call themselves “Chicco” and “Carousel”.
They are soon joined by Adolf, a beautiful German with a Nazi upbringing, who is a Christian missionary with a penchant for naked yoga.
Kerouac and Cassady were icons of the Beat Generation, an influential cultural movement. They were immortalised in Kerouac’s famous book, On The Road, as the characters Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarity.
Lynnette came across the book when she was 16.
“I went to a really conservative Christian school – I’d been reading this quite curated library of Christian romance novels,” she told Topics.
She found On the Road at a local library.
“It was awesome – it felt like a really big discovery,” she said.
She went on to read as many Kerouac novels as she could.
She was awakened by the books’ themes of non-conformism, spontaneity, sincerity, spiritual freedom, Buddhist sensibility and the breaking of 1950s conventions.
“It’s not just the content, it’s the freedom to say what you want,” she said.
“I love it. It certainly informs the way I write.”
In an adorable interview with her son, posted on YouTube and titled Fiction With Finnian, she said she loved the “energy, passion and madness” of Kerouac’s writing.
The book goes on sale in April.
Too Much on Your Plate
What's the worst number plate you've seen?
This was the question posed by Herald photographer Max Mason-Hubers, after he snapped a picture at Glendale of the number plate “Skanke”.
Other number-plate corkers have included “Dr Love”, “E8OLA”, “UR2FAT” and “IGOTAP”.
Feel free to let Topics know of other examples around town, but be sure to take pictures!
A Lotto ticket bought in Newcastle West scooped a $1 million prize, but the winner hasn’t claimed the cash.
The unregistered ticket was bought on January 9 at Marketown Newsagency.
“For more than two months, NSW Lotteries has been eagerly waiting to hear from the mystery millionaire,” spokeswoman Belinda McDougall said.
“Novocastrians should check their wallets, purses, drawers and the kitchen noticeboard for any forgotten Saturday Lotto tickets,” she said.
The winning numbers in Saturday Lotto draw 3597 were 20, 25, 36, 30, 18 and 2, with the supplementary numbers 5 and 11.
Meanwhile, a couple this week claimed a $750,000 prize on a Lotto ticket they bought six months ago at Edgeworth News Extra.
“The winning entry had been sitting on a noticeboard in our kitchen the whole time,” the winning wife said.
“We’d heard on the grapevine earlier this year that there was a missing division one winner from Newcastle, but didn’t dream it could be us.
“My husband jokingly said at the time that he should check our tickets because we’d bought one from that newsagency, but then he forgot to do it!”
Have You Seen Her
A young man stood on the northbound side of the Pacific Highway at Charlestown on Thursday morning, just past Hoyts, wearing a sandwich board that said “Have you seen Emma Adams?”, a reader said.
“He was holding flowers, I think. Any idea what that was? Is it a missing-person thing?”